In Auckland today, New York’s destination marketing organization and its counterpart in New Zealand’s largest city announced a new agreement to market the two destinations while sharing best practices on sustainable tourism.
The pact, which also includes Air New Zealand, is NYC & Company’s first in the South Pacific, which means it currently has partners in all continental regions worldwide except Antarctica. In North America, the New York tourism marketing group works with Toronto; in South America with Buenos Aires, Argentina; in Europe with Amsterdam, Madrid and Manchester, U.K.; in Asia with Tokyo; and in Africa with Cape Town, South Africa. Many of these partnerships also promote airlines, including Porter out of Toronto, Virgin Atlantic out of Manchester and JAL out of Tokyo.
NYC & Company’s ads in its partner cities are based on the organization’s local ad campaign—created in-house and launched in 2018—whose headline and tagline are “Famous Original New York City” and “Welcomes you always,” the latter meant to reinforce a message of diversity and inclusion. The ads also feature an illustration of the head of the Statue of Liberty.
The tourism group’s Auckland ad also promotes Air New Zealand’s new nonstop service between Auckland and New York, which begins Oct. 29.
In the new Auckland agreement—signed with both Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development and Air New Zealand—the organizations are doing an advertising swap, trading media valued at $150,000.
NYC & Company ads will run on bus backs and digital billboards in Auckland from April 6 through June 1, while the New Zealand ads will run on bus stop shelters through all five New York boroughs from May 4 through June 28. Timing is designed to enable prospective travelers to book Air New Zealand’s new service.
In Euromonitor’s 2019 survey of the world’s 100 most visited cities, New York ranked eighth and was the only U.S. city among the Top 10. Although international visitors to New York are far outnumbered by domestic ones (out of 65 million visitors in 2018, 51.5 million were from the U.S.), international visitors spend much more money than domestic ones because they stay longer—more than six nights, on average—compared to less than three nights for domestic visitors.
International visitors also generated approximately half of the $46.4 billion spent by all visitors to New York in 2018, and New Zealand’s visitors are particularly desirable: The country is among New York’s top five international market spenders.
Optimism amid concerns of an outbreak
The timing of the new collaboration is fortuitous, in light of the current, global coronavirus outbreak, since it enables New York to promote itself in a new region, thus becoming less dependent on Asia for international tourists.
Noting that in the first quarter of the year, Chinese visitors usually account for only two of every 100 travelers to New York, Fred Dixon, president and chief executive of NYC & Company, said the bulk of Chinese visitation typically comes in the second half of the year. “If the situation is resolved in the next few months and access normalizes, we will be poised to regain some of that travel audience due to pent-up demand and new promotion by year’s end,” he said.
The new Auckland pact, he added, would help make New York “well-poised to be cushioned in any downturn or regional weakness.”
According to Dixon, international visitation grew more slowly last year than in 2018, due to both the strengthening of the dollar, making the city a more expensive destination, and trade tensions, which he said suppressed Chinese visitation “to a degree.” President Donald Trump’s administration has also been vocal in its attempts to ban travel or immigration from several countries, so far including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela and North Korea—with more immigration restrictions enacted this year against Nigeria, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Sudan and Tanzania.
“When particular parts of the travel community are banned or made to feel unwelcome, the United States loses out,” he said, adding, “We believe it is possible to have secure borders and open doors.”
In a phone interview before the new pact was announced, Auckland Tourism chief executive Nick Hill said New York and Auckland are both eager to grow their visitor economies “in ways that are socially and environmentally sustainable. [The new agreement] will offer a lot of value and different experiences that will probably be quite complementary.”
Nick Judd, Air New Zealand’s chief strategy, network and alliances officer, said by phone, also before the Auckland announcement, that the carrier will fly to Newark Liberty International Airport, a major hub for United Airlines (a partner of Air New Zealand), thus enabling its passengers to connect to other United flights there.